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Aug 19, 2013One of the best movies I've seen in the last couple of years. Beautifully shot, and tremendous acting performances by the four leads (Mara, Affleck, Carradine, and Foster). It's great to finally see Ben Foster in this kind of sympathetic, virtuous role after so many years of playing the unbalanced, dangerous outsider. I also have to mention the score, which was perfect in tying the movie together, especially as the tension rises toward the climax. Lastly, Nate Parker does an amazing job in a supporting role we need to see more of him on the big screen.… Expand
Sep 15, 2013The story starts with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in deep love and expecting a child. Almost immediately, he ends up in jail, then escapes several years later to return to his family. During it all, a cop (Ben Foster) pursues them both in different ways. To make such a simple narrative work takes good writing, performances and direction. Unfortunately, none of those are especially commendable here. To make matters worse, the pacing is too slow and the cinematography is moody, but flat. While this simple tragedy had potential to be involving, nothing about the production helped.… Expand
Sep 11, 2013Beautifully photographed and superbly acted. Casey Affleck proves once again that he is the better actor than brother Ben in a performance that is second only to his 'coward Robert Ford'. For the first time I have taken note of Rooney Mara and I honestly don't think Keith Carradine and Ben Foster have ever been better. The star of this film ,however, is the lyrical writing which the actors bring to life exquisitely. The combination of the two makes many scenes totally hypnotic. There is also a pervading sense of tragedy throughout which is underlined by the perfect and appropriately mournful score. The abrupt ending slightly disappoints but this is actually due more to my expectation than to do with the story not concluding. It could have gone on but that is another story and in effect would make this a different film.… Expand
Aug 23, 2013David Lowery is the equivalent of a Terrence Malick cover band. He has all the rhythms and notes, but none of the heart and soul. He’s selling nostalgia at the expense of originality. And for some, that might be just enough. But for me, sitting through his aesthetically beguiling faux-Western, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” merely left me craving an umpteenth look at “Badlands” and “Days of Hd “Days of Heaven,” Malick films Lowery obviously suckled as intently as his mama’s breast. He does a superb job at paraphrasing both, from the hazy, dreamlike visuals to the long pauses and dialogue so muted that you often feel like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation in the next room. The characters are pure Malick, too: Young lovers, doomed by restlessness and ennui, running from the law as intently as they’re trying to flee from their consciences. And, just like “Heaven,” a love triangle with an ethereal woman conflicted by her romantic feelings for a good man and his evil-boy rival. Just replace Brooke Adams with Rooney Mara, Sam Shepard with Ben Foster and Richard Gere with Casey Affleck. Or, if you prefer the “Badlands” motif, swap out Mara for Sissy Spacek and Affleck for Martin Sheen. Either way, you come up short. It’s not that their performances are bad; it’s that these consistently fine actors are curiously miscast, beginning with Affleck, who’s too soft-spoken and non-threatening to be taken seriously as a hardened criminal. That’s more Foster’s purview, as he proved so indelibly on “Six Feet Under” and in “310 to Yuma.” As a heroic, big-hearted deputy, he’s just not cutting it. As for Mara, I feared that she might fall asleep at any minute. She certainly doesn’t communicate what it is that drives Affleck’s Bob and Foster’s Will to chase after her Ruth so intently.
It’s not that their performances are bad; it’s that these consistently fine actors are curiously miscast, beginning with Affleck, who’s too soft-spoken and non-threatening to be taken seriously as a hardened criminal. That’s more Foster’s purview, as he proved so indelibly on “Six Feet Under” and in “310 to Yuma.” As a heroic, big-hearted deputy, he’s just not cutting it. As for Mara, I feared that she might fall asleep at any minute. She certainly doesn’t communicate what it is that drives Affleck’s Bob and Foster’s Will to chase after her Ruth so intently. As for the plot, there really isn’t one beyond Bob breaking out of prison (off camera, no doubt due to the expense of shooting such a scene) and taking it on the lam in search of his beloved Ruth and their soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter, Sylvie, whom he has never met. Standing in his way, are three squinty-eyed bounty hunters, Ruth’s father-figure neighbor (Keith Carradine doing his best work in years) and a host of sheriff’s deputies, including Will, who persistently attempts to insinuate himself into the lives of Ruth and her daughter. Beyond that, nothing much happens. But given Lowery’s passion for Malick-esque visuals, it’s hardly a shock that his script is so bare-boned and derivative.… Expand